Today, amid worries over marketing and promotion campaigns, publication decisions, and life in general, three pieces of good news arrived that made me realize how fortunate I am.
I found out today that an associate professor in the Asian-American Studies (AAS) Department, under the College of Ethnic Studies, at San Francisco State University is going to use my novel in her literature class this semester, which in terms of planning reading lists and syllabi is quite remarkable. This is not official, as I have not heard directly from the professor, but I’m told that I’ll be asked to introduce my novel to her students on September 16th. I’m deeply honored and thrilled.
Long ago, when I was dreaming up my guerrilla marketing plan for my novel, one of the things I was planning on doing was contacting every AAS program and department in universities across the country to let them know about my book. The goal back then hasn’t changed: I would love for my novel to be taught in AAS classrooms. I think of the wonderful literature that I read when I took AAS courses at UC Davis: America is in the Heart by Carlos Bulosan, Farewell to Manzanar (though I read this in elementary school), The No-No Boy by John Okada. These are classics in Asian-American literature. While it was tedious compiling an up-to-date list of the ideal faculty to contact, the task was worthwhile on many levels. From this endeavor, I heard from nine professors from the 70 departments/programs I’d sent press releases to. One of the professors from Washington State University let me know that he’d be interested in my novel should he teach multicultural literature again next fall. Another professor asked to read it. The rest congratulated me and acknowledged the importance of my novel for Asian Americans, for Filipino Americans.
Along that note, the second piece of good news was hearing from one of the professors at the University of California at Irvine. While UCI was on my list, I held back contacting staff there because of a connection being made by my friend and editor Laurel. Her former neighbor, who teaches history at the University of Maryland, was going to introduce this UCI professor to me. She responded today, thanking me for my novel’s contribution, which was very humbling for me.
And lastly, when I collected the day’s mail, I received a note of congratulations on the publication of my debut novel by the UC Davis Cal Aggie Alumni Association. UC Davis is where I began my journey as a writer, but it was also the place where I gained deep knowledge about and appreciation for my Filipino-American roots by taking many AAS classes.
Today was a very good day. Gratitude in, gratitude out.